Hovered over the keyboard of my iPhone 7, my fingers surged with anxious energy. No, I wasn’t about to check my account balance, dial in for a job interview or
choose the toppings for my Domino’s delivery— quite the contrary— I was formulating a message on my latest, millennial dating endeavor: Bumble.
Bumble, unlike its dating app counterparts, puts the ball almost entirely in the female’s court, (at least in my experience with the ‘females seeking males’ interface) so in a nutshell, it’s the ‘Sadie Hawkins dance’ of dating applications. Contrasting with Tinder, in which either party can make the first move, Bumble requires that women initiate a chat in 24 hours or less.
Two things that make my stomach hurt? Making small talk via text and time constraints. But for some reason, I am oddly infatuated with Bumble. It’s kind of like pairing black and blue. We’re not entirely sure about how we feel about the color combo, but we do it anyway.
Alright, so on with the point of this article and the elusive “I’m too heavy” title. I’m getting there. I swear.
As is customary on my blog, I’ll now delve into one of my many fatal flaws as a human. Today’s focus: my irrational fear of “coming on too strong.” I certainly don’t feel this way in regards to every single element of my life, mind you— I once wore a ball gown to a pizza shop— but as far as dating goes, it is a tremendous worry of mine.
So there I was, on Bumble, wrestling with the daunting task of composing that first, initiative message to my match. My thought process went a little something like this: How do I come across as calm, cool and collected while also being straightforward about what I want while also acting somewhat sexy while also not making this boy run for the hills? At least for me, the fear of coming on too strong applies to every single human interaction I ever make— romantic, or not.
Why are we so worried about being “too much”? When did that ever become a thing?
As I write this post, I’m sitting on a bench in Washington Square park. I chose the first seat that I saw, which just so happened to be facing a jungle gym infested with children. After about 17 minutes of sitting here just blatantly staring like a total creeper, I’ve come to some conclusions.
The best and worst feature that children encompass is their filter— or rather, their lack thereof. Tiny humans express whatever the fuck comes to mind, whenever the fuck it comes to mind. They might be seated next to you in a pew at church, but if something in their tiny brain says “I’m hungry” you bet your tiny cup of grape juice that the kid will make it known to not only everyone in the building, but also the heavens above.
But never has a screaming, red-faced child paused to consider “hey, maybe I’m coming on too strong with this.”
So, when did we develop the fear of being “too much”? The answer to this question varies, but I believe that my concern stems from my crushing fear of rejection, which I began to experience the moment I got cut from the school production of Pinocchio. But if not for being cut from the play, I wouldn’t have discovered how much I enjoy writing. If I’d never uncovered that joy, this blog wouldn’t even exist.
Ok, enough about Pinocchio. Plain and simple, here are some sentiments that we must practice:
You will be too much for some people. Those are just not your people.
In regards to Bumble, I’m not too much for him. He is simply too little.
Never, ever, EVER dilute yourself because someone can’t handle you at 100 proof. You aren’t shitty, watered-down tequila, honey, you are PATRÓN. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You will always be too much for someone. Too kind, too smart, too relaxed, too loud…
But as Samantha Jones from Sex and the City says in season 4, “Honey, if I worried about what every bitch in New York was saying about me, I’d never leave the house.”
Back to the children in the park analogy— one of the clearest memories I have as a child is ruthlessly pushing my poor friend Abbie headfirst down a snow-covered hill in grade school. In kinder words, my mom basically said to me: ‘Katy you seriously fucked up now go say you’re sorry.’
I don’t pride myself in many things, but one of my strengths to this day is apologizing for my mistakes. “Sorry I’m late,” “Sorry for hitting your mailbox with my car,” “Sorry for eating all of your leftovers when I was drunk” …you get the picture.
Always, always apologize for your mistakes. But don’t you dare apologize for being who you are.
You aren’t too heavy, they are just too weak to carry you.
You aren’t too much.
You’re damn perfect.
Image is not my own; via Flikr.
the answer? science.
I'd like to preface this post with the following:
I. Feel free to swap in whichever pronoun(s) that suit your fancy. I use “boy," "him," "his," "he," simply because that is the only experience I personally can attest to.
II. If a boy from my past is reading this and believes that it is written about him— it probably is.
It all started with a meme. Doesn’t it always?
As soon as the classically centered, sans-serif text post surfaced on my feed, I knew I was in for something either clothed in stupidity or completely hilarious. (Let’s be real, there rarely is an in-between).
“The guy you can’t stop thinking about is currently texting at least four different girls. Happy Tuesday!" the post read.
Cue the familiar, sharp inhale of breath that indicates a feeling of: “damn, that’s relatable.”
I do want to note before I continue that the door certainly does swing both ways in regards to this subject. In relationships, boys can be elusive as fuck. By the same token though, girls can be just as shady. If a boy would like to compose an article such as this about girls who strung them along, be my guest. In the mean time, however, here is my piece.
Part I: You’re not stupid
Growing up I remember my friends and I, huddled together over each other’s flip phones, anxiously awaiting text replies from adolescent boys. Even a remark as simple as “hey wyd” would send a liege of butterflies soaring through our chests and out of our ear canals. Today, not much has changed. Now however, we face the horrors of ominous, three-dot bubbles, screenshots and read receipts.
I vividly remember one of the more vivacious of my childhood friends proclaiming: “Never text first and don’t even think about texting more than once in a row. That’s social suicide.” We all nodded our heads in agreement, a few of us masking pangs of guilt with nervous laughter.
I receive hundreds upon hundreds of messages on a daily basis along the lines of “why did I let myself fall for a fuckboy? I’m so stupid…” But, let me tell you this: we’ve all been there. We all know the utter joy of receiving a “good morning” text and the painful agony of the read-without-reply.
We aren’t ‘needy.’ We aren’t ‘paranoid.’ We’re just human.
The proof is in the pudding— or the amygdala, that is. Yep, I’m telling you that the reason that we act impulsively in relationships and feel absolutely stupid about it afterwards lies in an almond-shaped mass of gray matter located deep within your brain. The amygdala is responsible for detecting danger, uncertainty and risk. When your being is infused with feelings of love, the amygdala and parts of the brain’s frontal lobe sleeps, therefore switching off nearly all judgement and detection of potential danger. This is why we act rather recklessly and do things without thinking when we are in love. Once out of love, when the amygdala snaps back into action, we are overcome by a suffocating rush of uncertainty.
So that settles the “The boy dumped me. I’m stupid” debate. You’re not stupid. You’re just human with a functioning brain. (and the boy probably sucks anyway.)
Part II: Curiosity killed the cat
Arguably the worst part of the entire "fuckboy" debacle is all of the waiting involved.
All of the seconds spent
for messages and gestures that never arrive.
We know we shouldn’t put our lives on hold to wait around for these things, but it’s like turning your head away from a car accident on the side of the road. As much as we like to say that we’d pass by the wreckage without even a fleeting glance, we’d be lying if we did. Humans are curious creatures, constantly considering the ‘what if’. That’s what sets us apart from most other species. As they say: “curiosity killed the cat.”
A friend of mine compared a fuckboy to a McDonald’s drive-thru endeavor: you know it's bad for you, but you dive head-first into it regardless. It feels absolutely delicious and satisfying in the moment, but has the polar opposite affect on you the next morning. You roll over in bed, look at what you settled for in a moment of impulse and feel disgusting. No matter if its a takeout bag pooling with fryer grease or the silhouette of a boy, the feeling in the pit of your stomach is much the same.
Personally, when dealing with fuckboys, the majority of me always knows its a bad idea before it even begins. However, there is always that small sliver of hope wedged deep in my core that whispers: “maybe, just maybe, it’ll work out this time.” I used to think that this small voice was my fatal flaw; the arrow in my achilles heel. Fuckboy after fuckboy, I remain hopeful still, and walk freely and confidently from one booby-trap to the next.
But after some thought, I’ve realized that I can’t be upset with myself for being openminded and hopeful. Someday I’ll put these qualities to good use once I’m involved in a relationship that is truly right for me. Sometimes, though, fuckboys turn people cold.
I know the feeling of laying in bed, my hand clasped over my mouth, the silent tears trickling down my cheeks as my heart breaks in two.
If you’re anything like me…
You’re tired of being tired.
You’re restless and broken and trying to figure out what went wrong.
You think that something is wrong with you.
Amidst all of these doubts and blurred lines, I hope that you and I can find the courage to choose ourselves over the people that haunt us.
At the end of the day, we will encounter people like this in our lives until the end of time. Sure, there's science behind why we care, but that alone won't stop us from caring.
The truth of the matter is: a man who actually cares about you will never be 'too busy' to prove it.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “write hard and clear about what hurts.”
So, after quite the blog hiatus, I’m doing just that.
I’m tired. Really, truly, I’m tired, and have been for some time. Tired of mindlessly dragging myself from one almost-lover to the next; the vicious cycle of lifting my hopes up only to watch them ruthlessly be pulled out from under me like a deflated parachute.
For years I let my romantic frustrations win. The anxiety of it all would envelope me in a thick haze of doubt and loneliness, clouding my judgement, provoking me to lash out. I have allowed myself to become riddled with embarrassment over my inability to be loved. As my lacking love life continued to feel more and more hopeless, I’d purse my lips, lower my head and convince myself that I’d done something wrong. “God, what is wrong with me?”
You’ve heard this narrative before.
However on a recent flight to Los Angeles, I came to a new conclusion.
Playing past almost-romances in my head like a sickening highlight reel, I realized that by considering each extinguished flame to be a major loss, I have been severely discounting myself. While it’s cold, hard fact that I haven't been entirely successful in the past few years with dating, I’m not continuing with life completely empty-handed. I haven’t lost entirely.
Whether they know it or not, each and every almost-lover has given me something: a lesson, a song, boldness, tenderness. I no longer wish to view the moments spent with these people as “lost time.” Listening to scratched vinyl, the moonlight glistening on bare skin, driving in his car without a destination, hair flapping in the ocean air… I refuse to label these precious moments that I’ve spent with almost-lovers as losses.
You leave a very small piece of you with each and every person you meet.
When the sinking feeling of “Shit. I guess whatever “this” was is over now..” overcomes you, remember this:
You are more than just the number of people you’ve almost-loved.
He or she was not just a failed attempt at what you will eventually have with someone else.
Every potential relationship is either love, or a lesson. Don’t look at it any other way.
Photo: Tumblr, no known source.
‘It all happens for a reason’:
A string of pretty words popularized by Hallmark cards and Facebook comments, which in most situations proves to be completely and utterly irrelevant.
“Oh there, there, friend. It all happens for a reason.”
Whether we believe it to be true or not, we’ve all either said it or received it at one point in our lives.
As humans, we are constantly digging for reason.
After all, It is what we’ve been taught since we were young.
Identify the answer, and support with fact.
Isn’t that what our teachers have always said?
Which element of the periodic table contains the most protons? Explain your reasoning.
Analyze Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and identify symbolism. Explain your reasoning.
Explain. your. reasoning.
I hate to break it to you, but--
sometimes you’re just dealt a bad hand in life, and there isn’t a reason for it.
Sometimes, shit. just. happens.
No embellished, prophetic justification involved.
If we convince ourselves that reason is hidden behind every single interworking of our universe, we’ll constantly be waiting for that reason to show itself. The only thing that will arrive, however, is disappointment.
Stop searching for reason in every misgiving that you experience in life.
Sometimes, you just lose the game.
Sometimes, you just miss the train.
Sometimes, people just leave.
Instead of dwelling endlessly in the tangled realm of reason,
put a hand to your chest and feel.
Feel each rhythmic tremor that your heart sends rippling through your chest.
Feel the swelling of your lungs as breath is taken in and released.
Feel the warmth of your skin against your fingertips.
Congratulations, you’re alive.
Maybe it’s about time that you refuse to be content with simply existing,
when every fiber of your being is ready to start LIVING.
Move on. Your next chapter awaits.
Photo by Jimmy Walker via Flikr.
What do showers, stoplights and internet outages have in common?
They all happen to be situations where I’ve experienced great epiphanies.
I was driving home from my friend Jillian’s house.
My friends and I had just spent the past several hours pretending to watch reality television, resorting to our usual ritual of discussing our disheveled romantic lives and plans for the upcoming week. After the third or fourth mention of various high school couples that have ‘finally’ called it quits, I’d had my fill.
Early 2000’s teenaged-angst tracks filled my speakers (what else?!) as I pulled my Jeep up to the stoplight of an entirely vacant intersection. Something instantly caught my eye.
It was nearly impossible to miss the gigantic mass that was our newly-built high school which loomed ominiously to my left. As it is customary to react when thoughts of high school are unearthed from their proper burial, I shuddered. The building was lit up, an eerie beacon in the dark night. I glanced up at an unfinished stairwell, thinking of how many feet will eventually trudge up and down its steps, creating indentations from years of wear. Those feet will belong to future highschoolers; some bright-eyed and blissfully unaware of the hardship they’ll encounter in the future, some, secretly depressed and desperately trying to live up to others’ expectations... Some, destined for pristine, Ivy-league schools and white picket fences, and others, confined to a life of minimum-waged worry.
Call me cynical, but high school wasn’t exactly the best time for me.
I gripped my steering wheel harder. I was instantly flooded with horrific memories from high school. Obviously I’m being incredibly dramatic, but nonetheless, I made a number of mistakes within the peeling paint of its walls. I was weak. I was a pushover. My persona back then practically screamed: ‘Please! Walk all over me! I’ll tell you ‘I’m fine’ even though I’m secretly dying inside! Don’t worry about me!’
The day I crossed the stage at graduation in my mustard-colored gown, I think I might have taken a deep breath for the first time in four years.
Glancing back at the yellow squares of light protruding from the monstrous, brick walls, my mind began to race. If I had a chance to go back and shake some sense into highschool-Katy— tell her what to do, say, wear, and act— would I take it? Instantly, my life was beginning to feel like a clichéd movie plot.
Junior year I was utterly convinced that love-at-first-sight existed. A boy who sat opposite me in AP Stats with disheveled hair and perpetually scraped knees held my affections for the entirety of two semesters. Did I ever work up the courage to talk to him? Of course not. But did I spend an extra twenty minutes every morning making my hair appear effortlessly messy when it was realistically pin-straight? Absolutely.
Last week, I found myself in my local bar, face-to-face with this same boy, three years later. His hair was still the same floppy mess that it was in high school, but he’d traded his scraped knees for a pair of beer-stained khakis.
“Sup,” he’d addressed me with a nod of his head.
Two semesters of utter infatuation and extra hair-primping, yet all I was offered was a haphazard “Sup”? Bullshit. I’d forced my lips into a hollow smile.
Thank God I now know that I deserve better than that, I’d thought to myself.
The sad truth: a simple ‘Sup’ from this same boy back in high school would’ve sent me on a power trip to the moon.
The way I see it, though: that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
All of the f*ck-ups, tears, and fawning over unaware, preoccupied boys give way to the good stuff in life. And I mean, the gooood stuff. The laughing-'til-your-stomach-aches type of 'good stuff.'
The type of moments and people that aren’t simply presented to you without any sort of previous effort. High school isn't forever, but its effects are lasting.
Life is kinda like Mario Kart.
You simply can’t unlock any of those snazzy Bubble Bikes without a little bit of elbow grease in the time trials. Life can be messy. Sure, you’ll wipe out on a few banana peels and red shells in your lifetime, but who's to say that you won’t cross that checkered finish line on top eventually? You know the winning characters’ little victory-dances at the end of each race while the cheesy song plays in the background? That could be you one day. Keep your head up. Chain Chomps bite everyone in the ass at some point or another.
Remember those times when you’d think you were in first place, only to realize you’ve been looking at the wrong player’s screen the entire time and you’re actually aimlessly crashing into walls? Sometimes we get way too invested in other peoples’ business to tend to our own sinking ships. With a little focus and attention paid to your own aspirations, you’ll blossom.
If I had the chance to go back in time and whisper in highschool-Katy’s ear, it would only be to say: “The best is yet to come.”
Intro photo courtesy of Maxim.
Take a millennial who makes a habit of gallivanting around city streets, throwing back pretty cocktails with her equally-dazzling possé of friends. This said-millennial (let’s call her ‘typical millenial’) is also heavily involved in her Instagram account, posting up heavily-filtered photos with captions like, “my bitches!!!” and “TGIF.” Post-night out, this same millennial is looking a lot less pristine. Cue the sprawled-on-the-bathroom-floor “I’m never drinking ever again” snapchats and perpetual hangover. Remember that bright-eyed, squad selfie from last night? Well, those eyes have since reddened, and the squad is now scattered— each taking refuge in their own disheveled bed. Will our typical millennial snap a selfie for Insta in her current state of hangover Hell? I wouldn’t bet money on it.
We’ve all been there.
The truth of the matter is: no one is going to post a selfie when they’re not feeling or looking their absolute best. If a filter can’t hide that zit or bloated stomach after one too many helpings of Panera mac-n-cheese, you bet your ass our typical millennial won’t be posting.
This, my friends, is why we simply *cannot* take everything we see on Instagram to heart.
That model in a bikini carelessly posing with a McDonald’s Big Mac? What we don’t see are those endless hours she spends busting her ass at the gym every morning, counting calories, watching her friends waste away like frail, paper dolls.
Did she even eat it? We’ll never know.
I was heavily inspired to write this article by a recent conversation that I had with a friend of mine that I haven’t seen since high school. Picture the loudest, most iconic male member of your high school student body. Throw in a starting position on the football team among various other inconceivable accomplishments, and that’s my friend to a T. Meanwhile, I was the girl with two left feet and an obsession with AP Style who was mocked and scorned. Almost three years later, I have half a million YouTube followers and a blue check mark on Instagram under my belt.
Aside from who we were in high school, both of us can relate to the warped reality that defines modern-day social media. This guy friend of mine proceeded to ask me how my life is currently, given the fact that I’m constantly posting photos from my various trips all across the country.
He was insinuating that I really looked like I had my shit together nowadays, based on my Instagram profile.
“I’m not really that interesting,” I’d said, truthfully. However, thinking back to my most recent slew of photos taken in foreign settings clad with expensive handbags and clothes…
Shit, I’d thought. SHIT. I’m guilty, too.
Recently, I did a shoot with a kick-ass photographer that I’ve become great friends with. After receiving the photos from the shoot, I remember quickly eliminating every photo plagued with even a microscopic view of flab, cellulite or fly-away hair. Don’t even get me started on all of the apps that have the power to zap away all of these imperfections with the swipe of a finger.
But I can’t be so hard on myself. We all do it, don’t we?
Whether you’re even truly aware of it or not, you’re guilty of it. I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it.
The thing is, this was never really an issue before the current decade. No one was really that concerned about how their lives ‘looked’ to a undetermined number of eyes on the Internet. It’s a current state of affairs that is both aiding and ruining our lives at the same time.
This isn’t an instructional blog post, begging my readers to ‘PLEASE stop posting happy photos of yourselves eating cool food in cool places.’ I’m simply hoping to shed light on the current reality.
Here is what I know to be true: Most people aren’t as happy as they are on Instagram. And if they are, by some stroke of luck, they aren’t that happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are so many moments that we don’t see. We don’t see the panic attacks, the tears, the homesickness, the hurt… All of these incredibly human emotions, we’ll never see while scrolling through social media.
Because they’re ugly, they’re difficult to talk about, and most terribly of all: they make people uncomfortable. People don’t like to talk about the things they’re uncomfortable with.
We can’t beat ourselves up over what we see on Instagram.
We simply cannot look like the people we see on our feeds. This is due to the fact that sometimes, those people don’t even look like that themselves.
photo courtesies available on my other blog: katybellotte.tumblr.com
THE ROMANCE OF THIS DECADE MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH MYSELF IN THE THROAT.
A.k.a every sane person’s thoughts post another riveting episode of the Bachelorette. Yes, JoJo “omg he’s just so PASSIONATE” Fletcher, I’m looking at you. (If you somehow happen to be reading this, JoJo, is Robby wearing a bump-it? America is dying to know.)
I’ll spare you the typical, “why oh WHY couldn’t I have been born in a different decade?” rants that I’m sure you expected me to write. However, I’d be dishonest if I said I don’t feel that way whatsoever, because I do. When George Bailey tells Mary he’ll swing a lasso around the moon for her in It’s a Wonderful Life, I melt every time.
These days, we’re lucky to get a 6-second response to our snapchat selfies.
In his book, Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari makes the hair-raising point that in past decades, people were generally less picky about who they wanted to spend their lives with, have children with, and—essentially-- die with. They simply had one job back then: procreate. If you found love through securing your baby-making mate and multitude of able-bodied children, that was simply an added bonus.
I— rather hungrily— read Ansari’s novel cover-to-cover after a particularly rowdy weekend trip to New York City. As impeccable as it was, I couldn’t help but feel a bit discouraged by some of the statistics he mentioned. Sprawled in the Delta terminal, bearing half a dozen nightclub stamps and several, mysterious bruises, I was positively baffled.
“Statistically speaking,” one section read. “Women living in cities don’t land a husband until age 30” (paraphrased by moi, but the basic point remains). I’d nearly gagged. Seeing as though I planned on moving to the city post-grad, that left approximately eight years for myself as a city girl to somehow secure my Mr. Right. Even a stylish woman with perky boobs like Carrie Bradshaw couldn’t manage such a feat. EIGHT MORE YEARS of kissing the wrong guys, enduring excruciating dates and crying over idiotic text messages. Is it possible to be exhausted by something that hasn’t yet begun?
Even now in my trials and tribulations of male encounters, I can confidently say that I’ve been around the block a few times. Date after date, hook-up after hook-up, I’m left fairly satisfied, but not really. Clearly, I’ve missed some sort of memo. All Mary had to do to win George’s heart in Its a Wonderful Life was EXIST, and fall dramatically into a swimming pool.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F***.
What am I doing wrong?
The truth is: absolutely nothing. Like my man Aziz said in his book, people are more picky these days. They’re not simply looking for their perfect ‘mate,’ they're looking for their perfect MATCH; that one person that makes their insides melt like M&Ms in the sun and give them that ‘home’ sensation.
Let’s be real. When we say we’re “sick of modern dating,” what we really mean is: we’re sick of waiting for the right person. Mr. Right is simply taking his sweet, sweet time to show face in our lives. And, the reason why the ‘waiting game’ never seemed to exist in earlier decades, is *ding, ding, ding* because for the most part, it didn’t. In our current technological age when everything can be attained at the click of a button— and a room without Wifi is the equivalent of a prison cell— we’ve gotten so accustomed to instant satisfaction. I’ll admit I’m immensely guilty of this. If a website page doesn’t load in less than ten seconds I throw a mental fit and consider setting fire to my Mac.
Heaven forbid we send a “hey” text, awaiting that three-dot-bubble-of-death, and more than twenty minutes pass. If he waits over a few hours, sound the alarm. We might as well change our names and move to a different zip code by that point. However, if we were to approach a guy in person and say “hey,” a reply that took more than twenty minutes would be enough to generate a certain level of concern for the guy’s well-being instead of his romantic interest. Odd to think about it that way, right?
At this very moment, my future husband is out there somewhere, most likely in his underwear eating a sandwich. He could, by some small stroke of luck, be considering what it will be like to know me someday. But more realistically, he’s probably thinking about something else. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to feel anxious about love. In truth, its the current, digital age that has been the driving force of a lot of the anxiety that we all seem to feel. The worst possible thing that we can do is blame ourselves for what we consider to be a deadly case of ‘single-ness.’
It’s alright to reflect fondly on the love stories of past decades, but we must remember that comparison is deadly. To put it simply: times are different now. Love doesn’t work entirely in the same way that it used to. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn't capable of being totally magical once we finally experience it for ourselves. We must triumph over our anxieties and put them to rest.
Friends, I believe that there IS hope for us.
Someday, I’ll look back on this blog post in an entirely different decade, alongside my future husband (who will probably still be eating a sandwich), and laugh at how ‘cynical’ I’d been.
“Oh 2016 Katy, you have no idea what you’re in for…”
It was a humid evening last June when I experienced an act of true heroism.
I was attending a country concert with a couple of close friends when tragedy struck. While making my way back from the unsightly port-o-potty bathrooms that I had to force myself to use of (yet I maneuver fraternity house bathrooms with the esteem of a Ritz Carlton guest), I’d somehow managed to get my sundress wedged into the top of my hot pink, lace thong. Thrown into the chaos of any outdoor concert, I was completely unaware of my horrendous wardrobe malfunction. About fifteen minutes later a manicured hand clapped down on my shoulder from behind; “Honey, your dress is tucked into your underpants,” a woman with a cowboy hat hissed into my ear. Faster than a sale of Kylie Jenner lip kits, my dress was plucked and a red-in-the-face Katy was on her way.
This one single act of kindness from one female to another, commonly referred to as the unspoken, highly confidential “girl code,” positively saved my life (and my ass) that day.
In a world where the patriarchy is far from obsolete in many respects, it is crucial for our existence as hot-blooded females to stick together. From one uterus-bearing human to another, there is a solid list of commandments that we must abide by, for the sake of girl-kind.
THE GIRL CODE COMMANDMENTS
In the fine words of Madelaine Albright, “there is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women.”
It was a particularly long and dreadful school day in 2014 when I’d first experienced ugliness in its most bewitching form.
I was making my way across the high school parking lot, several hours after the last bell had rung for the day. I’d spent about three hours after my classes had finished, editing news articles for the school paper until the janitor gave me the ‘hurry up and get out’ eyebrow raise. Even with the blurred vision that is brought about by hours of squinting at a computer monitor, I caught a faint glimpse of a piece of paper fluttering in the wind, secured by the jaws of my windshield wipers.
I brushed it off, convinced it was either a parking ticket (I’m no stranger to these), or a nondescript ad for tai kwon do lessons. In truth, it was neither.
Once when I was nine, I’d had the wind knocked out of me while traveling in my family’s bright red speedboat. We’d hit a monstrous wave head on, and my small-person lungs simply didn’t agree with the momentum. I gasped for air, my eyes blurry with tears and assumed that moment would be ‘the end.’ The air -- and the day’s joy -- quickly returned with a McDonald's chocolate milkshake.
Standing in the empty parking lot, clutching a piece of notebook paper that dripped with pencil-scrawled hatred, made that day on the speedboat a cake walk in comparison.
Essentially, the note confirmed everything that I suspected to be true about myself in high school: that the majority of the people within those yellowing walls and disintegrating ceiling tiles considered me as hilarious and stale as a practical joke.
I reacted to the note the same way that anyone else in my circumstances would have: I pretended it never happened, while the anxiety of it all ate away at my insides like moth larvae in a coat closet. I looked into the eyes of my classmates, wondering if he or she was the penman of the letter, questioning every friendship I ever made and robbing myself of even a shred of joy. I drove myself mad, pouring over the pages of past yearbooks, convinced that if I could just figure out who’d penned the note, I’d finally earn peace.
Eventually, I graduated high school and began the greatest endeavor of my entire life thus far: college. The sleepless nights and ravaging anxiety that the letter had brought into my final year of school soon dissolved, and I’d nearly forgotten about it entirely.
The reason why I decided to unearth this story from the innermost archives of my mind, is the fact that I consider it to be a very defining moment for me. I see life as being a series of soaring highs and staggering lows, and this was one of my most distinct ‘low’s’.
No human is completely without blemish. Considerably my most fatal flaw, is my tireless need to drive myself absolutely bonkers with over-analysis. Every once in a while, I become consumed by the idea that even the closest of my friends secretly hate me and the horrible reality that I could never be loved or married, among other things. But it is in these moments that I pinpoint the enemy: myself. Or, my mind, for that matter. And the sad truth is, it’s not me alone who is guilty of doing this. In fact, I’m sure you’re just as guilty as I am.
Genuinely, it is really none of my business what other people think of me. If I make this my business— if I MAJOR in ‘caring about what they think of me,’— I will wither away until I’m nothing but a sack of meaningless, passionless bones. If we spent a considerable amount of time dwelling on every negative comment, horrible bully, and lie we hear about ourselves each time they come about, we’d be selling our souls over to the ugliness. We are not the reflection of those corrupt people who can’t see us for who we truly are. We are a picture of vibrant color and loveliness, and no one has the right to convince us otherwise. We can’t let the behavior of others rob us of our peace.
Small people make it their mission to belittle the ambitions of the seemingly unbreakable. However, their petty stones can’t penetrate the walls of a stone castle— remember that. The stones will only hurt you if you open a window and let them in. Refuse to open that window.
Socrates once said, “be as you wish to seem.” By the same token, feel as you wish to feel. Not every situation demands a reaction. Sometimes its best to look those who wronged you in the face (figuratively), smile and think “I’m sincerely sorry for YOU. I will not award you with the luxury of seeing me cry.”
I never did find out who wrote the letter.
And quite frankly, I don’t give a damn.
First photo courtesy of art director and designer, Jessica Walsh, via Instagram. Second photo courtesy of a tumblr blog, source unknown.
It may or may not be common knowledge that I’ve spent about a third of my life rattling off anecdotes and whimsical thoughts to a camera, alone in my suburban bedroom.
After seven years as ‘that one girl who makes those videos,’ I’ve rambled at length about countless subjects: the trials of hair removal, menstruation, relationships, ripping my pants in public and love. I’ve endured the torment in high school, the seemingly light-hearted (but still totally offensive) mockery in college and the emotional strain that comes from putting yourself ‘out there’ to an audience of over 27 million— all, in hopes that my stories will help at least one person out there feel a little less hopeless.
I have received pages upon pages of praise from a subscriber pool of over 400,000 worldwide, saluting my 'honesty' and 'courage' online, but I’ve been intentionally ignoring the 6,000-pound elephant in my bedroom.
I AM A COWARD.
I have strategically maneuvered myself around the subject of sex for seven years now, for the complete benefit of polishing my own reputation. My biggest fear for quite some time has been the image of my estranged third-grade teacher who I'm friends with on Facebook, shaking her head with disapproval at this headline appearing on her feed.
After much deliberation with the angel and devil on my shoulders, I’ve decided that enough is enough.
It is tremendously difficult to find honest accounts about sex online, and I am sick of living my life knowing that young people are out there in need of the actual truth. You can hear about it a million times in the same sterile, generic form, but hear about it once in its true light, and it might have the weight to powerfully enlighten the youth of our day. I think it’s time that someone is honest about this stuff.
Sex. SEX. S-E-X. Granted, I wasn’t capable of even uttering the word “sex” in 2009 without blushing, but it has taken me until the hard age of twenty to speak freely about it online. Ultimately, I have been afraid of the judgement that would ensue the second that the ‘unclean’ word left my lips. Would the entire world crumble around me? Probably. I suppose I won’t really know until I click ‘publish’ on this post.
What ever happened to publishing the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Two dogs, tails wagging and eyes gleaming, grope each other in broad daylight and its deemed adorable, but the second a girl decides to even simply write about sex, it’s considered unbecoming and distasteful.
Nearly everyone is either ‘doing it’ or thinking about ‘doing it,’ but hardly anybody is talking about it. Instead of locking away the subject of sex in the crowded dungeon of social taboos, maybe it’s time we take a crack at it.
Most of us can recall The Breakfast Club’s Allison ‘The Basketcase’ Reynolds’ famous theory about sex:
“Well, if you say you haven’t, you're a prude. If you say you have, you're a slut. It's a trap.”
It seems that no matter which side of the line we choose to stand on, we’re at fault somehow.
When I first ‘got lucky’ (just one of the 99+ euphemisms for sex that I found online), I spent roughy 45 seconds afterwords in utter shock. “That was it?!!” I thought. No fireworks? No rainbows and riding off on horseback into an entrancing sunset? “I wish I had been more prepared for this.. I want my money back,” I’d thought, reflecting back on the hours of tuned-out health class lectures in middle school. The second my 55-year-old teacher had mentioned the word “penetration,” his jugular bulging with each syllable, I was done. Perhaps, if I'd been more informed initially in a way that was easier for my teenaged mind to digest, things would have gone differently for me.
To the several thousand (not an exaggeration) of my blog, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram followers who have begged me to speak openly about sex, I’m finally hoisting up my big-girl panties and laying all of my cards on the table.
I came across a quote once that read, “Be as hairy, dirty, and expressive as you want to be.”
I am not looking for your praise. I am not looking for your scorn. All I wish to achieve by speaking openly about sex online, is the hope that young men and women everywhere will realize that they are not alone in what they are doing and how they are feeling. We’re told that it’s normal for our hormones to run rampant in our teens, but regardless of the science involved, it’s socially criminal to not only — *gasp*— have sex (?!) but, —*gasp*— actually talk about it? Bullshit.
Let’s face it. It’s happening, and it will continue to happen.
The more we openly speak about sex, condoms, birth control and STD’s, ultimately, the safer the whole rodeo will become. At this rate, the most I read about sex online comes from faceless bylines on Cosmo articles, raving about the perks of using frosted donuts as sex toys.
I am sincerely sorry if this post causes you to lose sleep at night, but please know that somewhere across the way, I’ll be getting my full eight hours just fine.
TO BE CONTINUED
Photos courtesy of various Tumblr blogs. I do not own the rights to them.